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Four Years at the Mount

Freshman year

Tristan

Angela Tongohan
Class of 2020

(11/2016) I had a story ready for you. It was pretty heartwarming. I was going to start with a little anecdote and gradually move into how we should be thankful for the opportunity to wake up every morning to the bright shining sun. I even planned to include a few facts about my family and maybe even a few inspirational quotes; however, something happened this weekend that enhanced my idea of being thankful to an even deeper level, and I think you ought to know about it.

This weekend I went home for my motherís 50-something-th birthday. It was a surprise, so my dad picked me up pretty late. When I arrived at the house, a tiny, gold-and-white Papillon was waiting for me at the door. I have two dogs by the way. A Papillon and a beautiful black-and-white Prince Charles Spaniel. Their names are Tala and Tristan, respectively. After a few minutes of belly rubbing in celebration of our reunion, my dad and I set up for the surprise.

She was pleased, to say the least. She appreciated the cherry wood jewelry box I bought her and my dadís makeshift effort to make a card. We laughed and decided to save the cake for the next day since one in the morning was deemed "too late" for cake eating.

However, the focus of this story is not my motherís birthday, her gifts, or even her surprise. The focus of this story is actually my dogs.

No, not the Papillon.

When I saw only Tala that night, I had assumed that Tristan was running around the backyard. He was always the outdoorsy one. Tala didnít do much. She slept and ate and barked and slept and ate again. She wasnít a walks type of dog either. In fact, a few months before we got Tristan, we took Tala camping. Letís just say that after a severe case of overheating, a trek to the nearest water pump and a bath in the ice cooler, we were never taking Tala camping again, ever.

As Iíve mentioned in recent issues, I am an only child from a small family. My parents believed that if I spent day after day with only myself as company, I was bound to go insane. They decided I needed a companion. The first attempt was Tala. However, being that Tala enjoyed the company of the dust balls under my parentís bed more that she enjoyed spending time with me, we decided to try again.

I met Tristan on a farm. We had gone in search of fresh eggs and left with a shy puppy instead. Tristan was the most beautiful puppy I have ever seen. The farmer was gushing about how his dog had just given birth and, out of excitement, rushed in and grabbed one to show us. Puppy Tristan had the biggest, saddest eyes. His droopy ears were still rather short. After a failed attempt to hand him over to my dad, the man tried to give Tristan to me. He practically jumped into my arms.

It was amazing. I remember thinking to myself, "This must be how it feels like after giving birth!" One look at Tristan and I was overcome with an overwhelming and absolute love. I immediately turned to my dad and said, "We canít leave without him."

And we didnít.

I didnít know how to feel when my parents told me they gave him away.

At first I was confused. "What? To whom? Where?" They began to explain to me how they had given him away to a family whose daughter also went to the Mount, but I was no longer listening. I couldnít see anything; I couldnít hear anything. My mind was flooding with memories of Tristan. He was my best friend. We did everything together. We slept together, ate together, even watched movies together. When we moved houses, he stood by my door at night because I was afraid of the dark. He was so wonderfully loyal.

When I was sad, he would lick my hand and rub his ears against my eyes to wipe away the tears. He loved me unconditionally. He loved me absolutely. He loved me entirely. Even when I didnít return the love he deserved. I remember spending less and less time with him. As time to leave for college came closer, I remember opting to spend time with my friends more than choosing to spend time with him. I remember locking him out of my room more times than not. I would come home late and leave home early and forget to give him walks, but Tristanís love never failed. He was always waiting for me at the door with the same ratty tennis ball I gave him after my last season of high school tennis.

Oh, how I wished I appreciated him more. I met the family we gave him away to later on, and saw that they cared for him in a way that I no longer could. I will always be grateful for Tristan. He was such a huge part of my life. Heís made me realize the importance of unconditional love, and to appreciate those who do love me unconditionally. I have come to appreciate people who go out of their way to make me happy or to show me comfort. I find that it is so easy to take things for granted, like I took Tristan for granted. He has taught me so much, he taught me to love without expecting anything in return. Tristan was so special to me, and I am blessed that I was able to encounter such a beautiful love.

Read other articles by Angela Tongohan